North of England MPs sound alarm over rising Jew-hate in their constituencies

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford and West Yorkshire MP Fabian Hamilton have raised the issue with senior ministers and police


Two north of England MPs have told the JC they are so concerned with rising antisemitism in their constituencies that they have raised the issue with senior ministers. 

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford said he has been speaking to Home Secretary Priti Patel and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick about rising Jew-hate in his area, and is in almost daily contact with local police over the issue.

In West Yorkshire, Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton has asked Mr Jenrick to provide “extra support and protection” for the community. 

Both politicians serve constituencies housing some of the largest Jewish populations in the UK. 

As in London, communities in the North-West and Yorkshire have experienced an alarming rise in cases of anti-Jewish racism. 

Young people have been particularly hard hit, with both cities being home to large student populations who increasingly cross the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and outright bigotry. 

Between Saturday May 8 and Sunday May 23 alone, the Community Security Trust recorded 42 antisemitic incidents in Greater Manchester and 13 in West Yorkshire.

However, the CST said these totals are “almost certainly” undercounts, as there is always a delay in incidents being reported, verified and processed before they are formally logged.

Dave Rich, Director of Policy at CST said: “One disturbing trend we have seen during this conflict involves a large number of incidents of cars with Palestinian flags driving through Jewish neighbourhoods, particularly in north Manchester, in a way that appears designed to intimidate and harass Jewish people.

“Shouts of ‘free Palestine’ are sometimes accompanied by abusive or threatening language, also directed at random Jewish people. 

“We urge everyone to report this kind of behaviour to CST and to the Police, who will investigate and arrest people for these antisemitic hate crimes.”

Mr Wakeford, who is an officer of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: “I’ve been asking questions from the Middle East perspective to (Minister for the Middle East) James Cleverley in the chamber. 

“I’ve also been speaking to Home Secretary, Priti Patel and Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, about what is happening on a local level to make sure that events in the Middle East aren’t spilling onto our streets and causing issues for our Jewish community.”

Mr Wakeford added: “There’s no place for antisemitism in a modern, tolerant society. These (antisemites) are people who fundamentally disagree with Israel’s right to exist and clearly have a problem with the British Jewish community.

“If they don’t want the Jewish community here, then they should question their own relevance to British society because they are clearly not contributing to a free and equal Britain.”

Over in Leeds, Mr Hamilton has written a joint letter with the Jewish Leadership Council and Leeds Jewish Representative Council to Mr Jenrick.

The letter raises particular concerns about protests occurring outside of schools, where Jewish pupils are being “harassed and intimidated”.  

It also calls on Mr Jenrick to “work across government and with the police to ensure everything possible is done to minimise threats to the British Jewish community.” 

Mr Hamilton told the JC: “The huge increase in antisemitism across the country in recent weeks is extremely disturbing and many North East Leeds residents are understandably concerned. 

“The Jewish community must not be subject to these disgraceful attacks, which is why we’re calling on the Government to ensure the community is free from the threat of violence or antisemitism of any kind. 

“It’s vital that the Government steps in to provide extra support and protection to reassure the Jewish community at this difficult time.”

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